Alarming Increase in Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer: What You Need To Know
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, and it is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country. Unfortunately, the incidence of CRC in young adults is increasing rapidly, with some experts predicting that by 2030, it will be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for people under 50.
A report from the American Cancer Society points to an alarming increase in CRC among younger people, with rates nearly doubling in Americans under 55 from 11% in 1995 to 20% in 2019. The American College of Physicians recommends that Black men and women undergo their first colorectal cancer screening at age 40.
Experts believe lifestyle risk factors may be contributing to the uptick in rates of early-onset CRC. These include higher rates of obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and higher consumption of processed and sugary foods.
In individuals under the age of 50, the most typical signs of colorectal cancer are abdominal discomfort; unexplained weight loss; modifications in the frequency, size, or look of stools; and rectal bleeding, which is present in 46% of early-onset cases, as compared to 26% of cases in adults over 50.
Screening tests for colorectal cancer exist in multiple forms. Consult your doctor to decide what is best for you. Besides a colonoscopy, the CDC recommends consulting with a doctor to determine which one is best for you.
It is also important to know your family history, get regular medical checkups, exercise, and avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol to excess. Eating a healthy diet with high fiber, fruits, and vegetables can also help reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
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2. “Colon cancer is rising among young adults. Here are signs to watch for.” National Geographic, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/colon-cancer-increasing-young-adults-symptoms
3. “Colorectal cancer is occurring in younger patients” Spectrum News, 15 Mar. 2023, https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/charlotte/news/2023/03/15/doctors-say-colon-cancer-cases-are-getting-younger-and-younger